Total sets net-zero target 30 years into the future

French oil and gas major Total has committed to becoming a net-zero emissions energy firm by 2050. But, as with other majors with similar pledges, the plan retains fossil fuel generation.

Business as usual: Total sees no reason to change its fossil-fuel strategy for 30 years  (pic: Guillaume Perrin / Total)
Business as usual: Total sees no reason to change its fossil-fuel strategy for 30 years (pic: Guillaume Perrin / Total)

As part of reaching the target, Total wants to reduce the carbon intensity of its oil and gas facilities to “less than 40 megatonnes” of CO2 by 2025. It claims to have already reduced the intensity of its existing fleet by 6% since 2015.

Total said it would “develop an active advocacy for policies that support Net Zero, including carbon pricing”.

However, it added, “the pace of transition will depend significantly on the pace at which public policies will evolve, together with consumer behaviour and resulting demand”.

In the renewable space, Total is targeting 25GW of gross renewable energy capacity by 2025 and intends to up its investment in the low-carbon electricity generation from 10% of its Capex to 20% by 2030. It currently has 3GW of gross installed renewables capacity.

“Energy markets are changing, driven by climate change, technology, and societal expectations. We are determined to advance the energy transition while also growing shareholder value,” said Total’s Patrick Pouyanné, chairman of the board.

Total follows other oil and gas companies Shell and BP in setting the uninspiring target. Total claims its aims are inline with the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.

"Total has led energy transition efforts among the Majors and is the largest spender, accounting for almost 60% of the European Majors' total M&A spend in renewables or nearly $5 billion since 2016,"  said Valentina Kretzschmar, vice president of corporate research at analyst Wood Mackenzie.

"The company's deeper commitment to meeting carbon targets shows its unwavering strategic direction towards diversification into clean energies, despite low oil prices and the implementation of cost-cutting measures across its oil and gas businesses.

"The move is a positive development for the energy transition within the oil and gas sector, which we expect will accelerate in a post-coronavirus world, especially in Europe.

"The EU Green Deal, as well as the UK’s aim to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050, will continue to increase pressure on companies to commit to clean energy and develop carbon mitigation strategies," Kretzschmar added.

As well as unveiling the carbon reduction plan Total also recorded a 35% fall in its adjusted net income for Q1 compared to the same period last year. It still recorded an adjusted net income of $1.78 billion in the quarter.

In its results, it noted how the average Brent oil price was down 21% against Q1 2019, while average European gas prices were 51% lower in the three-month period.

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